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March 23, 2014

Water works: Art educates community about need for clean water

NORMAN — Art was the vehicle for education this weekend, as children learned about the importance of clean water by utilizing their creativity and coloring, sculpting and sketching. The Firehouse Art Center and Scissortail School of Art offered kid-friendly art activities in recognition of the United Nations World Water Day on Saturday at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St.

Children worked with foil to sculpt sea creatures and drew pictures with pencils and crayons. Douglas Elder, Firehouse Art Center executive director, said Firehouse Art encourages the use of foil in artwork because it’s a utilitarian medium that non-artists aren’t afraid of.

“It’s really a medium anyone can use, and it’s exciting to see how far you can take that one sheet of foil,” Elder said.

The kid-friendly activities were part of an art and music-filled weekend, Transformaion:Coffee+Water+Art, that raised funds for “Campaign: Rwanda” and was brought to Norman by Mariposa Coffee Roastery and the Norman Arts Council. Daniel Kao, owner of Mariposa Coffee Roastery, said his business believes coffee is transformative.

“We found many parts of the world that produce some of the best coffee also suffer from lack of clean, accessible water,” Kao said. “It’s important to us to give back and make sure the hard work of the coffee laborers is represented in our work.”

Mariposa Coffee Roastery partnered with Water4 of Oklahoma City to put in a sustainable well in an excellent coffee growing region in Rwanda. In July 2013, enough money was raised for one water well in the Nyaruguru district of Rwanda to be completed.

Additionally on Saturday, high school students, who are a part of a college prep program, painted a mural of fish that will eventually be displayed at Lions Park, 450 S. Flood. Madeline Jackson, Sage Danielson, Arantxa Elizondo and Jamie Lim all participated in painting the mural.

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